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Credit Suisse CEO pay jump to fuel banker bonus debate

The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen on a building at Paradeplatz square in Zurich, February 13, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer
The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen on a building at Paradeplatz square in Zurich, February 13, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

By Katharina Bart

ZURICH (Reuters) - Credit Suisse upped the remuneration of Chief Executive Brady Dougan by one third in 2012, likely adding to public and political dismay over the scale of banker pay in a year when the Swiss bank's stock stalled.

Anger at pay levels has already driven Swiss voters to back some of the world's strictest controls on executive pay, forcing public companies to give shareholders a binding vote on compensation.

European officials, emboldened by a victory over banker bonuses, are also expected to propose legislation giving shareholders the right to challenge executive pay amid public anger at Wall Street-style excess in the boardrooms.

Credit Suisse's investment banking rival drew fire last week when it disclosed a near $9 million 2012 payout for CEO Sergio Ermotti and a $26 million welcome package for its new investment bank chief.

UBS was bailed out by the Swiss government nearly five years ago.

Dougan, who sparked a public outcry in 2010 when he received roughly 70 million francs in shares from a 2004 stock-linked bonus plan and was awarded 19 million Swiss francs for 2009, received 7.77 million Swiss francs ($8.2 million) in 2012.

Credit Suisse chairman Urs Rohner also rose by one third to 5.234 million francs, according to the bank's annual report released on Friday.

The bank's top earner two years running was Robert Shafir, promoted to co-head of the newly merged private bank and asset management unit in November.

His overall pay was 10.59 million francs last year, up from 8.50 million a year before. Shafir is also head of the Americas for Credit Suisse.

Part of Shafir's pay was a 1.87 million franc share in the bank's private equity and hedge funds, meant to tie his interests with those of a wider asset management restructuring.

Shafir, who was already granted a stake in alternative investment funds in 2008, could be set for awards of $10 million if the funds achieve certain returns over their lifetime of up to fifteen years, according to footnotes in the annual report.

The bank's compensation body echoed comments from last year, saying Shafir "successfully repositioned the former asset management division while improving financial results through higher net revenues and lower total operating expenses."

Dougan's pay -- comprising a 500,000 franc unrestricted cash bonus, 2.5 million in base pay as well as short- and long-term stock awards -- rewards him for scaling back the bank's risk in 2012, improving capital, slashing spending and restructuring, the board's pay committee said.

THE BONUS BACKLASH

Credit Suisse's U.S. rival JPMorgan Chase halved the bonus of CEO Jamie Dimon after the bank's board decided he should shoulder blame for $6.2 billion of "London Whale" trading losses. His overall pay was $11.5 million last year.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc has not yet disclosed CEO Lloyd Blankfein's compensation, which increased sharply to $16.2 million in 2011 despite a slide in profits and share price.

The head of Barclays' investment bank, Rich Ricci, this week sold more than 17 million pounds in shares he received in a long-term pay deal.

While Credit Suisse has vowed to stick with fixed income areas from which UBS is withdrawing, it is shrinking risk-intensive areas.

It has closed its correlation trading desk and shrunk commodities and derivatives, its investment banking co-head Gael de Boissard said in an interview this week.

Credit Suisse also wants to cut 4.4 billion francs in costs by the end of 2015, up from a previous 4 billion target, by folding its asset management unit into its private bank and by moving some jobs offshore. The bank cut 2,300 jobs last year.

The measures took their toll on Credit Suisse's profits. Net profit dropped 24 percent in 2012, and the bank kept its mostly stock dividend unchanged.

(Editing by David Cowell)

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